Sophia: Lady Wisdom

Sophia by Mary Plaster
Sophia, Divine Wisdom by Mary Plaster,

Sophia is the Greek word for “wisdom.” She has her roots in Hellenistic philosophy and Platonism, but eventually became a central idea in Gnostic Christianity, Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism, among others. My favorite image of Sophia comes from Proverbs 9:1-18 where she is personified and contrasted with Dame Folly. The first part of the passage is as follows:

Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
“You that are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.” (NRSV)

Some view Sophia as a separate deity apart for God. Some view her as the Bride of Christ. Others see her as a feminine aspect of God or a theological concept regarding God’s wisdom. There are also some NeoPagans and Wiccans who have taken her under their wing as well. Sophia predates Christianity but it is also possible that some Wiccans and NeoPagans adopted her from Christian sources such as Gnosticism. I need to do more research on this subject, but if anyone out there can has information they can share, please let me know.

For some Christians. the idea of including Sophia in their worship is unthinkable. For others Sophia is the aspect of God we’ve been missing from our patriarchal faith for way too long. Not surprisingly, I fall in the second camp and see her as Hagia Sophia which means “Holy Wisdom.” While some see the Holy Trinity as three masculine persona, others, like myself, see Sophia as the Holy Spirit who guides us with her divine wisdom.

You might also find it interesting to know that Jesus mentions Sophia in Matthew 11:19: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (NRSV)

Could it be that Sophia is one of the things that links Pagans and Christian together? I think so. Some Christians see this as heresy, but that’s a label we place on things so we can dismiss them easily. Sophia is part of my personal devotional life. I dine at her table often and am blessed by her many insights. If you also feel a connection to Sophia, I’d love to hear from you!

Copyright©2022 by David Taliesin,

About David Taliesin

My name is David Taliesin. I'm an writer, teacher and retreat leader who explores the connections between Christian and Pagan Spirituality. E-mail me with any personal comments you'd like to share and I will do my best to answer them. You can also contact me through my Facebook page
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